Cross Country Auto Transport

Whether you’re moving for work or relocating to another city for personal reasons, a cross country move often involves the dilemma of how to get your vehicles to your new location. Many people have several cars, a truck, and a motorcycle or two that they need to relocate during a move. If you’re moving just one vehicle, you may choose to drive it, but if you do, you might be surprised at how gas, food, hotels, tolls, and other on-the-road expenses add up — not to mention the unnecessary mileage and wear and tear you’re putting on your automobile. An easy way to solve vehicle moving worries is to find reliable, licensed auto carriers who can do the job for you in a timely, professional manner. Caravan Auto Transport has carefully vetted licensed, insured car transporters who can safely haul your car to wherever you’re going. You’ll be surprised at how affordable auto transport can be. Ready to go? Click ‘Get Quote’ for a free quote in just minutes!

Find out how much it costs to ship your car!

Vehicle Transport Options

So, you landed that big job across the country, or you’ve decided to move to a warmer climate. Once you determine that vehicle transport is a much better way to go than a DIY drive, you have several great choices to meet your needs and budget.

Open Carrier

Shipping in an uncovered open carrier is the cheapest way to ship your car and is a fantastic option, especially if you don’t have far to go. On the plus side, shipping by uncovered carrier is often faster because companies tend to have more open carriers available than enclosed. But, the serious downside is that an open carrier exposes your car to the elements as well as road debris. Depending on the time of year, the weather, and type of car, this may or may not be a problem. You’ll need to check the shipper’s insurance to make sure they will cover any damage to your car, which is far more likely in an open trailer. Another concern is that since the cars are exposed, they’re more vulnerable to break-ins when the driver makes overnight stops. For this reason, it’s imperative not to leave any belongings in your car when placing your vehicle on an open-air carrier.

Enclosed Carrier

If you have a long way to go, you’re expecting severe weather, or you’re transporting a classic, luxury, or exotic car, shipping your vehicle in an enclosed carrier is the safer option. While the risk of damaging your car is significantly lower, you’ll also pay for that peace of mind – enclosed carriers can cost up to 50% more than uncovered transportation.

Hire Someone to Drive

If you’re not excited about the risks inherent in putting your car on an open-air trailer and are willing to spend more money, you can hire a professional driver to transport your car. Several companies offer personal driving services, but drivers are not always available and can be expensive. And if you hire someone who’s not a professional, you’re putting yourself at all kinds of risk – from damage and liability to theft. Additionally, as with driving the car yourself, there’s the wear and tear of a long-distance drive. Are you willing to add all those miles on your odometer? If not, you may want to reconsider investing in an auto shipping company.

Shipping via Train

Another option you might not even be aware of is shipping your car by train. This alternative is sometimes more cost-effective than other options, but you’ll need to get your car to the rail station and pick it up when it arrives at the other end. Also, if you’re in a hurry or shipping only one car, this may not be your best mode of transit. Transport by rail can take two weeks or more depending on the distance, and many rail transport companies consolidate multiple cars before they ship. Like shipping by carrier, when shipping by train, you have the option of open or enclosed transport. Open transport is cheaper than enclosed transport but, as always, there’s a larger risk of damage.

Get Trusted Transporters Now

Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country

Car transport companies typically charge between $1-$2 per mile to ship a vehicle across the country. The final cost of shipping your vehicle cross-country will depend on several factors. Check out the many factors that go into the cost of cross-country vehicle shipping:


Distance plays a big role in the cost of your cross-country vehicle shipping. Longer distance routes include additional toll costs as well as staffing costs for drivers. Additionally, if fuel prices are high or fluctuating, the company is likely to pass off the additional costs to you.

Pick-up and Drop-off Points

Pick-up and drop-off points also affect pricing. If you live in an urban area where the carrier can easily pick up or drop off a vehicle as part of an overall run, it will be more convenient for the transporting company. If you live in a rural area that’s way off their route, the costs to pick up and deliver the vehicle will increase, depending on the added mileage.

Vehicle Weight

The weight of your vehicle directly correlates with auto transportation fuel costs. Smaller cars weigh down the carrier less and require less fuel to transport. The opposite is true of larger vehicles. Expect to pay a premium to ship an oversized vehicle, SUV, or truck.

Vehicle Size

Another factor affecting the price of transporting a car is the size of the vehicle. The larger the vehicle, the more expensive it will be to transport. Smaller cars take up less space on the transport carrier, allowing the company to take more cars in one load. Larger vehicles take up more space, preventing the carrier from taking as many cars. Oversized vehicles also weigh more, slowing down the overall speed of the carrier and increasing fuel costs.

Time of Year

The time of year and the season affect moving costs. An estimated 80% of moves occur between April and September, leading to higher overall prices due to demand. Also, shipping a car to warmer states in the winter might be more expensive as “snowbirds” from Northern states all demand the same services at once. If you can wait to make your move during off-peak times, you’ll stand to save hundreds of dollars. But if you don’t have that luxury, it helps to shop around and see if you can find quality auto transport companies at more affordable prices.

Delivery Time

Simply stated, the faster that you want your car delivered, the more it’s going to cost you. A quick pickup and delivery require the transport company to work around a specific route and your timing. That personal level of service translates to reduced efficiency for the shipping company, which they pass on as higher costs to you. If you have more flexibility, your auto transporter can plan a route and delivery schedule that’s advantageous to other clients, as well as to you. Providing the mover with the opportunity for efficiency will result in a lower overall cost.

Car’s Condition

A final consideration when determining moving costs is your car’s general condition. Does it run? If not, it will be harder and more time consuming for the moving company to load it onto the carrier. Moving a non-running car requires different training and equipment from the skills of a typical car transporter. The companies that do have those skills may charge an additional $150 to $200 for the specialized service.

How to Ship a Car Cross Country

So, you’ve decided to ship your car across the country rather than drive. Good move! Hiring a licensed, insured carrier to take care of shipping your vehicle means you’ll have one less thing to worry about during your move. We’re here to help make life easier for you, so next, let’s talk about the steps required to ship your vehicle across the country.

1. Request Auto Shipping Quotes

Before your move date, it’s important to investigate the cost of auto transport and make a plan. To get the best deal for your situation, you have to do your research. And that’s where Caravan Auto Transport comes in. We make it easy to compare multiple quotes in one place, saving you the hours of searching for affordable, licensed, insured carriers. Keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t always the best choice. Operators that don’t have the proper credentials might charge less but can end up costing you more in the long run.

2. Schedule the Shipment

Once you’ve chosen a cross country car transporter, work backward to select your shipment date. Try to leave as much time as possible to ensure that carriers will be available on your preferred date. Make sure to ask for proof of the carrier’s insurance and amount of coverage to safeguard your vehicle’s safe transport. And then check in with your insurance company to see if they advise purchasing supplemental insurance.

3. Prepare the Vehicle for Shipment

Make sure you leave yourself enough time to prepare your car for shipping. Customers are advised to complete the following before dropping their cars off to the carrier. Doing so will ensure the most successful passage of your auto from point A to point B.

  • Check the tires and fluid levels: Make sure your tires are ready for the road conditions at your final destination. Are they able to handle snow-covered streets if you’re coming from a warmer climate? And are all your fluids topped off? You want your car to be ready to drive when it arrives at its destination.
  • Wash the car and take pictures: Wash the car because 1) it’s nicer to receive a clean vehicle on the other end and, 2) it’s easier to spot existing dings and scratches if the car is clean. Examine your car in detail and take pictures of any damage, keeping a written record at the same time.
  • Remove all personal items: Empty the car of all personal belongings such as CDs, safety kits, spare change, toll passes, etc. beforehand. Removing personal effects will reduce the car’s weight and ensure nothing goes missing along the way.
  • Secure all parts: Remove anything that isn’t permanently attached to the car, such as radio antennas, spoilers, bike racks, or bed liners to ensure they won’t get damaged or go missing in transit.
  • Empty the gas tank: Try to have the tank no more than 1/4 full before drop-off. A full tank is a safety hazard and adds to the overall weight of the vehicle. However, keep in mind that you will need enough gas in the car to drive it when the transporter offloads it from the truck.
  • Keep a spare set of keys: Don’t give all the vehicle keys to the trucker when he or she picks up the car. Make sure you keep a spare set and bring them with you when your car is delivered just in case something happens to the originals.

4. Drop Off at the Pick-Up Location and Track Car’s Progress

If the transport company doesn’t pick up directly at your door, you may be required to meet the transport driver at a designated location or drop off at a terminal. In this case, you’ll want to track the truck’s progress through the carrier. The DOT limits truck drivers to 500 miles a day, which might affect delivery time. Factors beyond their control—such as mechanical breakdowns, bad weather conditions, and unexpected traffic—may also cause a delay. It could take up to two weeks for the transport company to deliver your car, so ask the company you work with how to best track your delivery.

5. Receive the Delivery

Once your car has arrived, you can pick it up from a transport facility or have it delivered to your home for an additional fee. Rural areas can present hazardous road conditions for the safety of your vehicle, so the truck driver might choose a parking lot or other location that’s close to your destination. A wide-open, paved area allows the driver to unload your vehicle safely. Once he or she unloads it from the truck, inspect the vehicle to make sure it’s in the same condition in which you left it. If you see any damage, you will want to file a claim with the transport company.

* * *

Ready to get a free cross-country car shipping quote from Caravan Auto Transport? Click ‘Get Quote’ now to compare the costs of licensed, insured car shipping carriers.

Get shipping estimates now.